WeatherHYDE: A Reversible Shelter for the Homeless

Thanks to a unique reversible skin that means it can be used in both the winter and summer, the WeatherHYDE tent offers a year round solution t the weather related deaths which are common amongst the world’s homeless population, particularly in regions such as India that experience extreme climate.

In the winter, when blankets aren’t enough to keep someone warm on the sidewalk, this tent uses a reflective skin to trap body heat. In the summer, it reverses to reflect the sun and stay cool. Its design is private and user-friendly, and its simplicity in manufacturing can create small local industries to manufacture the tents. Each tent can house a family of five and costs only $100 to produce.

The creators of WeatherHYDE tell Materia that the tent comes with a lightweight 3-layer flysheet made with PU coated polyester, polyester wool and mylar. They additionally use plumbing pipes/ PVC pipes for its frame, materials, which can be easily procured locally. The frame is connected by custom designed 3D printed joints.

The concept for this new type of shelter comes from Prasoon Kumar, founder of Singapore-based non-profit BillionBricks. Kumar, who worked as an architect and urban planner for more than a decade, decided to devote his time to the non-profit after watching 9,000 families lose heir homes during riots in 2013 in North India. At the same time, Kumar was working on a design for more affordable housing and struggling to convince his client to take a more unconventional approach.

The currently prototypes for WeatherHYDE have been tested in the field for the past 6 months by families located in the New Delhi, India area. As mentioned, these first prototypes costs around $100, but the team hope to ultimately cut that cost in half. Once pilot tests have concluded, these innovators hope to make the shelters bigger and include cell phone charger, solar powered lighting and then also use the same technology to build temporary toilet and shower shelters.

Ultimately, once the design is tested and refined, the team hope to roll out WeatherHYDE around the world to locations as diverse as the Himalayas to part of the US and Singapore, where the tents have in fact already been tested. Kumar adds, ‘We believe by…open-sourcing our concepts and making then contextually adaptable, we can create solutions with a significant impact and potential for systemic change.’

Edit: This product used to be called winterHYDE.